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Class vs. Cancun: It's Going to Be a Short Spring Break, Thanks to Snow

A third snow day puts the Port Chester School District over the limit this year.

Parents, put those beach towels back in the closet: the first day of spring break is now considered a work day, according to Superintendent Dr. Donald Carlisle.

Port Chester kids woke up yesterday morning with 2-4 inches of snow, ice, and yet another snow day—marking the third this season. However, while young ones are probably rejoicing over missing that math test, today’s absence from school came with some .

Having exceeded a two-snow day maximum mandated by the New York State Department of Education, students will now have to sacrifice their much-anticipated vacation time.

Monday, April 18, which previously marked the first day of the mid-semester vacation, must be taken away to make up school work missed on today’s closing, complying with a requirement to receive state aid, as instituted by the NYSED.

Regulations require that a school is open for a total of 180 days in a given calendar year, and if any days are missed, they must be made up before June.

This year though, Port Chester has already seen a total of four winter storms—before February 1. One fell on winter break, sparing an official snow day, but the three storms since have resulted in three snow days. Officials worry that if bad weather continues for the next few months, faculty and parents should reevaluate their vacation plans

“We’ve already had a significant winter in terms of weather and it’s only January—if I was a teacher I wouldn’t make plans to go away for the week in April,” added Carlisle.

Keeping the school community out of harm’s way was first priority today for the district when they made the decision to call off classes, regardless of disappearing time off.

“I look at it as a safety issue, and to me, icy roads are a bigger issue that comes into play [for transportation],” added the official.

For those days cancelled prior to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Port Chester has already lost May 27 and April 25, which were two holidays worked into the calendar since September. Some people aren't happy about that, but the old saying "better safe than sorry" applies when the weather makes travel dangerous.

“You have to be callous [as superintendent] to continue to do what’s right,” Carlisle said.


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Jennifer Greatrex January 19, 2011 at 02:05 PM
Given how little it seems our children have been in school since Christmas break (given Superintendent Day, Snow Days and public holidays), it would make more sense to take the snow days out of Winter Break versus Spring Break when we're all really going to need some time off. The children are going to hardly be in the classrooms this winter with the holidays, vacations and snow days. I think the Superintendent and School Board should consider this.
Peggy Johnston January 19, 2011 at 06:41 PM
2 snow days for a community in the north such as Port Chester and in "southern" Tennessee the school district in Gray builds in 13 snow days. What sense does this make?
Jennifer Greatrex January 19, 2011 at 07:29 PM
It feels like our children have hardly been in school since the Christmas Break! We've had 3 snow days, a public holiday and a 1/2 day for the Superintendent's Day. We haven't had a full week of school this month, it seems. And we're looking at another potential snow day tomorrow... then in 3 more weeks, we'll have a week long Winter Vacation! I believe it would make much more sense to have the snow days come out of our Winter Vacation vs. Spring Vacation... given the children have hardly had consistent time in the classroom this winter and that by the Spring, we are all going to need a break come Spring. To have that vacation cut into will be a hard pill for many families to swallow, much less the teachers. And from the students' perspective, to have so much time off during the winter months and then a long stretch between Winter Break and Summer Vacation ... I would think it will be hard for them to manage a Winter of too much time off and a Spring with hardly any time off. If we could level it all out a bit - I think everyone would benefit.
Conservative NYer February 20, 2011 at 11:57 PM
We won't be bypassing our beach towels. Will the school be refunding the money to those families who have already paid for the trip?

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